Very hair-raising POD for all the WWIII scenarios

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by david3565, May 21, 2004.

  1. david3565 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    This is an interesting article (more detailed one here). It is about Soviet officer who recieved an alarm that the US was launching missiles. He decided it was a false alarm and ignored it. Of course it begs the question of what would have happened if he hadn't. With just the information in the article you could probably work out a scenario that would be pretty close to reality, depending on how far you wanted to map it out. For convenience sake I am putting the article in this post:

    Ex-Soviet Officer Honored for Prudence

    By Associated Press

    May 21, 2004, 12:50 PM EDT

    MOSCOW -- A retired Soviet military officer was honored Friday for averting a potential nuclear war in 1983 by ignoring an alarm that said the United States had launched a ballistic missile, a U.S.-based peace association said on its Web site.

    Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was in charge of the Soviet Union's early warning system when the system wrongly signaled the launch of a U.S. Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile in September 1983.

    Petrov had to decide within 20 minutes whether the report was accurate and whether he should launch missiles in retaliation, the Vlast magazine reported in 1998.

    At the time of the incident, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union were high. The Soviet military had recently shot down a Korean Air Lines jet that strayed over Soviet airspace, killing all 269 people on board.

    Petrov decided the alarm was false and did not launch a retaliatory strike.

    The article said Petrov suffered severe stress after the incident and spent several months in hospitals before being discharged from the military.

    On Friday, the San-Francisco-based Association of World Citizens, a worldwide organization promoting peace, presented Petrov with the World Citizen Award and launched a campaign to raise $1,000 for the Russian, who receives only a meager pension.

    "All the 20 years that passed since that moment, I didn't believe I had done something extraordinary. I was simply doing my job and I did it well," Petrov said on Russia's NTV television.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2004
  2. knightyknight Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    My hair was raised.
     
  3. robertp6165 Confederate Troll

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Location:
    South Carolina: The Cradle of Secession
    I would think that the fact that he only detected one missile would have been a definite give-away that it was not a real attack. If the U.S. was going to attack the Soviet Union in 1983, it would have been an all-out counterforce strike...not a single missile.
     
  4. DMA I am not the Final Cylon!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    If you think that one event is scary, it's only one of many "mishaps".

    At the Victoria Peace Centre, they have listed 16 events where a nuclear war could have started. Here's the link http://vicpeace.ca/centre/readings/nukeuse.htm#table1

    In a similar manner (& there is some overlap), at Nuclearfiles.Org is listed "20 Mishaps That Might Have Started Accidental Nucelar War" here @ http://www.nuclearfiles.org/kinuclearweapons/anwindex.html . Needless to say, the mishap which david3565 started this thread with could be listed as #21.

    Just great to know that there were 20 known mishaps before the one david listed. And, needless to say, this is just those we know about! How many more have there been?
     
  5. david3565 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Actually, the more detailed article says missiles, not a single missile. I think it was a mis-statement by the author in the one that I posted.